Kenny and Yates power to world titles in Minsk

22 February 2013 / 18:59

Jason Kenny got his wish after claiming keirin gold at the track cycling World Championships in Minsk.

Kenny wanted a rainbow jersey badly after winning the 2011 world sprint title, although only months after the event when the original gold medallist was banned for a doping infringement.

And victory makes amends for his disappointment in yesterday's team sprint, when he and team-mates Philip Hindes and Kian Emadi could only finish sixth.

But he did it the hard way - the three-time Olympic gold medallist came through the repechages and only made the final by default after the semi-final winner, France's Francois Pervis, was disqualified.

Kenny saw the race open up for him in the final lap, after silver medallist, Germany's Maximillan Levy, gave him an almost perfect lead-out and he found himself in space to surge to the line.

"I really thought Levy was going to win and I just tried to stick to him and I couldn't believe it when I looked around me and saw I was all alone," said Kenny.

"I only made the final after a relegation and I was having a real confidence crisis to be honest, especially after messing up the team sprint yesterday.

"It's an amazing feeling to put it right because it had been a pretty disappointing championship for me so far. I'm still gutted about the team sprint but it's great to win a world title."

Simon Yates also got his tactics spot on as he stormed to a stunning and surprise points race gold.

Yates, 20, follows the lead of coach Chris Newton, who won the world title in the same discipline, which is no longer an Olympic event, 11 years ago.

Spain's Eloy Teruel was ahead for much of the 40km 160 lap race but Yates edged the 16th and final sprint to win by just one point while Russia's Kirill Sveshnikov completed the podium.

"I can't believe I've got my hands on a rainbow jersey, I'm speechless," said Yates.

"I hung in there and timed things just right. It's just a fantastic feeling and it's great to be a world champion so early in my career.

"160 laps is a long way and I tried to conserve my energy and then the race started coming to me and it all worked out well.

"I knew I was so close and thankfully I just had enough in the end."

Meanwhile, Becky James edged closer to her third medal, after bronzes in the team sprint and 500m time trial, as she qualified to the women's sprint semi-finals.

James, a silver medallist in the event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, will face China's Guo Shuang, the Olympic bronze medallist, on Saturday.

© Sportsbeat 2013